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Ragan Inducted Into Farm Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Ragan Inducted Into Farm Broadcasters Hall of Fame
January 28, 2007 |

Long-time farm broadcaster Gene Ragan of Dothan recently was inducted into the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual convention in Kansas City, Mo. NAFB historian Dix Harper said Ragan’s 40-plus years are believed to be America’s longest-running farm television show on a single station. Ragan’s plaque will hang in the National Ag Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kan.Ragan already had been inducted into other halls of fame and honor. They include Auburn University’s Agricultural Alumni Hall of Honor, University of Florida North Florida Research and Education Center’s Hall of Fame, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association’s Livestock Hall of Fame and the Opp Jaycee Rattlesnake Rodeo Hall of Fame.Randy Griggs, executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association in Dothan, described Ragan as an “agricultural icon” who has witnessed historical changes in production agriculture.”There probably isn’t a person who has farmed in southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia or the Florida panhandle who hasn’t heard of Gene Ragan,” Griggs said. “He’s been a staple for agricultural information and is known for his accuracy and dependability. Our organization has worked closely with him on the peanut program over the years, and we appreciate his genuine interest and understanding of agriculture. He is very deserving of this recognition.”Houston County Farmers Federation President George Jeffcoat echoed Griggs’ remarks, recalling that watching Ragan’s former noon farm show that aired each weekday was a routine for most farmers in his area.”(Ragan) would give the market report, the weather and the crop forecast,” Jeffcoat said. “We all depended on him to keep us up to date. He would have Extension agents and other farm experts on his weekend show that would introduce the latest techniques or equipment. He helped shape farming in our area.”Ragan has been the recipient of a number of other awards, including a tribute read into the Congressional Record by U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, (R-Ala.,) in 1997 following Ragan’s selection by Progressive Farmer magazine as its Man of the Year in Alabama Agriculture.A long-time member of the Alabama Farmers Federation, Ragan often featured programs about the organization and included numerous interviews with Federation staff.His farm-broadcasting career in radio started in 1953. His farm television show on WTVY-TV in Dothan ran from 1958 until Dec. 24, 1998. In the early years, the TV broadcasts also aired on stations in Albany, Ga., and Tallahassee, Fla.”It’s been a long row to hoe,” Ragan said reflecting on his years in agriculture communications. “There’s a book called From the Mule to the Moon and that’s sort of the way I would describe my life. There have been so many changes it’s just hard to comprehend so much has taken place in my 82 years.”Ragan is a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Agriculture with a major in animal husbandry. He served in the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and sold farm equipment before starting his broadcasting career in late 1953. Ragan wrote the farm page and farm columns in the Dothan Eagle for a number of years.As a youngster growing up on a small southwest Georgia farm, Ragan was an active leader in 4-H. As an adult, he was an accomplished Charolais breeder and was elected president of the Alabama Charolais Association and later received the organization’s President Award. He was on the Beef Cattle Improvement Association Program, and received the Richard Deese BCIA Award. He is a past president and director of his county cattlemen’s association.
Ragan was a long-time member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters and was a past NAFB southeast regional vice president.SouthTrust Bank, which was a sponsor of his farm programs, also retained Ragan for a number of years as a farm consultant.
Ragan and his wife Marilyn have two sons, Russ and Middleton. Russ continues the farm radio program started by his father. It is now called the “Ragan Farm Report.” It is broadcast weekdays from 5:30-6:30 a.m. central time on 95.5 WTVY-FM in Dothan.

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